(The following is from Natalya Shelkova, chair of Benefits Committee. She solicits community feedback on the proposal.)
Following up on the initiative that began last academic year (community forum on parental leave, the survey on parental leave), the Benefits Committee has put together a proposal which, if approved, would modify the existing parental/family leave policies of the college. The attached proposal was approved at the Benefits Committee meeting on March 2, 2015.
The committee has agreed to share the proposal with the community on the moonroom website and through the Staff association. Please let the faculty know that we will be collecting feedback in the next two weeks. Please send feedback to Natalya Shelkova, Jerry Joplin, or Elizabeth Wade – the faculty representatives on the Benefits Committee.
As you know, while we were working on the proposal, the budget deficit situation has appeared which made us modify the proposal. Namely, we thought that a gradual 3-step implementation of the proposed changes that are dependant on the budgetary situation of the college would be wise, as outlined in the attached document. (The proposed changes are highlighted in green, if approved, will enter the existing sections of the Faculty/Staff Handbooks.)
In the first stage we recommend changes that have no budgetary implications, and include introduction of flexible work schedule for new biological/adopted/foster parents who are staff members, and for the faculty – one semester release from advising and committee responsibilities, as well as one-year stop on the tenure clock.
Changes proposed for the second stage moderately increase the parental and family leaves generosity and are recommended for implementation when the college’s budget is balanced. These changes include introduction of a limited-use emergency leave days for the faculty, which addresses existing inequality in the leave compensation between faculty and staff. (Currently new mothers who are staff members can use emergency days in order to achieve 100% compensation when taking time off to care for newborns, while faculty is compensated at 80% rate). The new (limited-use) emergency leave for the faculty will mitigate this disparity. The proposed policy also suggests that the emergency leave days can be used by non-birthing spouses/partners (both faculty and staff) who can take up to 2 weeks to care for newborn/adopted/foster children, and up to 1 week for illness/death of an immediate family member.
In the third stage of the process, which would take an effect when the college’s financial position is sound and sustainable, the committee recommends granting the faculty who are new parents 3 course releases, equivalent to one semester off.